Now when you thing of the first word in the post that a fellow autistic noted in his post is a common word of a sect of individuals today fighting for social justice. That is not totally the only reason why I signed the Change.org Petition for this gentleman. It makes no difference whatsoever to me if he is black. It does matter that he is Autistic and a Teen because am and was respectively been in each classification. I was a college student and am an employee, but those first words are not the ultimate deciding factors of what I feel this person needs justice. The three top words are a contribution of his adverse affects, and that my friends is what is sad. Here’s the story behind the man in question”
Now as I can be as fair and impartial as I want to be in this situation, I just can’t because you see my friends. It doesn’t matter or race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) What matters is that the law enforcement individuals. Of which I must reply by saying that several members in the law enforcement lack the training necessary in interacting with the autism community. I personally live in a community, where in most parts of my county, we have trained Crisis Intervention Team law enforcement officers on staff. And for a fact with myself having a close professional and working relationship with out county behavioral health office know that Autism is a part of the annual training held for them as well as crisis workers, which I know in most situations can be a godsend.
However, there is many jurisdictions throughout not only America, but also the world where autism specific training is not provided. I have heard across social media of some individuals and families connecting with their local police departments by making awareness in this regard. In addition to the law ENFORCEMENT side of coin, locally we have the problem-solving courts (mental health, drug, and veterans divisions) to aid in reducing the need to be incarcerated which yet can involve in systemic recidivism.
Unfortunately, like in Matthew’s situation, Autism doesn’t always present itself in sunshine and rainbows, especially during a challenging situation such as what he faced. Law Enforcement and Judicial Courts in many jurisdictions do not simply understand the range of Autism and the total scope and spectrum of what it is. Simply put, many think of it as more of a developmental disability (which there are ISSUES and not DISABILITIES on that regard, although ADA clarifies it as such.) Simply put, Autism is not cut and dry. Many advocates say “if you met one person with autism, you’ve met just that, one person with Autism.” I know several distant autistic relatives and friends that have different abilities and disabilities that I do. I do not discount them because they are different. Instead, I see what their ABILITY is and WHAT I CAN DO to help them or encourage them in any way I can.
So this brings forth the question? Why do I feel the need for signing this petition?
Simply put my friends, this was before our recent tensions in social justice and police relations. No it has if not been on my mind but those close to me for years. It indeed is what places me at a great inability of excelling my dreams to the next levels and for a betterment in my lifestyle. That my friend is police relations. Now, first and foremost I do not want to say that each and every law enforcement officer is a bad one. That is certainly a myth at best. There has to be better police relations with the public, indeed. Yes. with the marginalized and minority communities. Also those of ALL disabilities and sexual orientations, so forth. I do not want to get into a debate on this in depth, but fairness is key.
Cutting my reason dry, my followers is when I took the time to read the facts this afternoon, I saw a myself and wondered if that would have been me. Yes, I know in Matthew’s situation there were other factors, but let’s rule Asperger’s/Autism and the other behavioral health diagnoses as the primary factor. I have heard many situations of law enforcement with the autism community. Some good, some bad. But the point is we never know what one would do until they are in the situation.
When I read that petition, I thought of myself with improperly educated law enforcement and while I don’t know for certain of what I’d do. Bringing all the technology forth today, I personally would not be certain that the law would be in my favor and all the facts properly presented for a successful outcome.
Not that we want to. But, for those on the spectrum that navigate the community without the help of someone, can you be sure of if 1.) The autistic is aware and educated what to do in any given notice of law enforcement? and 2.) Can you be sure that Law Enforcement Officers are properly trained in ALL factors of working with the behavioral health community (including Autism, and specifically deescalation and communication?)
These are situations we need to make individuals on the spectrum fully-aware of, because if we do not when they are able. An interaction with law enforcement could turn sour and in an instant your world could be turned completely upside down like Matthew’s Story. You don’t have to go into gore details of the negative effects, instead be clear and concise on what an individual needs to do to their knowledge and ability to comply with commands by law enforcement. I have heard of a young man for Baltimore wearing a bracelet stating he has autism to another giving directions to call a family member. It has to be a mutual decision that sound minded individuals and their supporters feel is safe, appropriate and can be done properly for law enforcement.
I treaded the waters lightly on the situation of the world lately, but when a fellow blogger brought up this young man’s story, I couldn’t help, regardless of race, What if this was me in that situation?